History and Join Page






We are an organization of Veteran Officers, from all branches of the military , and our membership has a great deal of varied military and civilian leadership experience.  Our membership wants to share and give back to our communities the valuable lessons we have learned and are willing to share to further the organizations goals.


The group is involved in patriotic history, leadership training for the local High School students and the California National Guard operated  Grizzly Academy for high school age students.  We also have a great program for The Cal Poly ROTC and their future Army Officers. We wish to further patriotism in our nation and stimulate youth participation in our countries proud history.  We do this by supporting Scouting Programs and Youth Leadership Conferences for our future leaders.


Our members have a wealth of experience and service to our nation, it is satisfying to encourage our young people to take part in our nations future and to be come productive, involved citizens. MOWW is involved in the local Veterans community , we participate in patriotic events such as Memorial Day, Veterans Day and other significant community programs such as ROTC graduation, Boy, Girl and Sea Scout events.


We  have monthly meetings, except for July and August.  They are lunch time meetings, which include speakers from the community, on subjects of interest.  These meetings are also an opportunity to socialize with men and women that have a military background, a very diverse and interesting group.


We invite you to join us in a very satisfying mission , to share your leadership abilities, and to give back to the community, through your knowledge, to keep America strong and productive.




Immediate Past Chapter Commander
Richard B. Hathcock








 The Chapter was founded on 19 June 1990 with COL Ray Pearsall, USA (Ret.) its first Commander.   Subsequent Chapter Commanders in order of succession were: LTC Arthur Dewar, LTC Clayton Johnson, LCDR William Sommermeyer, CAPT. Robert F. Grogan, Capt. John Dorwin,  MAJ Bud Layman, COL Jack B. Jones, LTC Robert Blake, LTC Larry Geist, COL Gene Frice (3 terms), LCDR William Sommermeyer (3 terms), PHM Mrs. Joy E. Jones (3 terms), MAJ Jim Murphy (3 terms), CPT Dick Hathcock (3 terms), and Lt(jg) Joe Brocato.

 During the 23 years of its existence, the chapter has grown from 15 members to over 110 placing it in the large chapter category.  The chapter actively participates in support of ROTC and JROTC programs as well as support of Boy and Girl Scouts, and Law and Order. 
The chapter began one-day Youth Leadership Conferences in 2003 as well as sponsoring students to the Thousand Oaks Youth Leadership Conference held at California Lutheran University.  In addition, the chapter supports Memorial Day events at the San Luis Obispo Cemetery and the Cayucos Pier as well as the Law Enforcement Memorial both locally and in Washington, D.C.
 The Chapter has won numerous awards and recognitions over the years including the prestigious  "Chapter Activity" award as the best chapter in the Military Order in the intermediary class and Runner - Up in the Large Chapter Class, the first year the chapter competed in that category.




The Military Order of the World Wars was founded in 1919 by Officers who had served under General of the Armies John J. "Black Jack" Pershing to perpetuate those ideals for which they had fought the Great War. In fact, the Order was originally named the American Officers of the Great War. It was incorporated by an act of Congress on January 27, 1919. The Order was intended to be the successor to the Society of the Cincinnati for George Washington's Officers of the Continental Army and the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of Federal Officers who served in the Civil War. With an initial membership fee of $5.00, the founders set about the task of recruiting a membership nucleus, a "Committee of 1000," consisting of men across the country and from outside the Continental United States in Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, Cuba, and Europe.

The first National Convention was held on September 7-9, 1920, at the Statler Hotel in Detroit. Twenty four chapters were represented by the 156 delegates in attendance. The first order of business was the adoption of a constitution and bylaws. The name of the organization was also changed to the Military Order of the World War, deleting the reference to "American," as such foreign heroes of World War I as Marshal Ferdinand Foch who were enrolled in the Order. A committee was appointed to select an appropriate coat of arms, seal, insignia, and ribbon bar. Other committees addressed nominations, a permanent headquarters, rules, chapter activities, resolutions, finances, and other miscellaneous business. Commanders of the nine new departments comprised a special committee on military policy. The first convention pledged its support to the Regular Army, the National Guard, and the Organized Reserves. Perhaps not surprising, considering the convention site, Detroit was selected as the location for the first permanent National Headquarters.

One of the lasting accomplishments of the 1920 convention was the adoption of the Preamble to the Constitution and Bylaws. The Preamble was written by Captain Francis B. Grevemberg, a Charter Member of the New Orleans Chapter, who drafted the document on the back of an envelope while traveling by train to the convention. His handwritten draft now hangs proudly on a wall in the Order's National Headquarters. Its wording has been changed slightly during the intervening decades. Most notably, a precept has been added concerning patriotic education, but, otherwise, the Preamble's direction and clarity of purpose remain constant. The Preamble remains the foundation upon which the Order has been constructed.


To cherish the memories and associations of the World Wars waged for humanity;
To inculcate and stimulate love of our Country and the Flag;
To promote and further patriotic education in our nation;
Ever to maintain law and order, and to defend the honor, integrity and supremacy of our      National Government and the Constitution of the United States;
To foster fraternal relations among all branches of the armed forces;
To promote the cultivation of Military, Naval and Air Science and the adoption of a consistent and suitable policy of national security for the United States of America;
To acquire and preserve records of individual services;
To encourage and assist in the holding of commemorations and the establishment of Memorials of the World Wars; and
To transmit all these ideals to posterity; under God and for our Country, we unite to establish The Military Order of the World Wars.

The Preamble is read at the opening of all meetings of the Order, at the Chapter, Department, State and Region levels and at General Staff meetings and the National Conventions. By so doing, Companions (members) are reminded of the precepts and dedication to selfless service that have brought them together in The Military Order of the World Wars.

The Commander-in-Chief (CINC) directs the Order at the National level. The first CINC was Major General George H. Harries, a Veteran of the Sioux Indian Campaigns and the Spanish American War. General Harries had also served for 17 years as Commander of the District of Columbia National Guard. During World War I, he commanded the logistics base at Brest, France. He served as Commander-in-Chief from 1920 to 1925.

General Harries appreciated the importance of involving General Pershing in the nascent Military Order. General Pershing was named the Order's Honorary Commander-in-Chief for Life. In 1926, he addressed the National Convention meeting in Philadelphia. Memorable among his inspiring words was the admonition, "You have fought a Great War to make the world safe for democracy, and to keep this Nation free, but your efforts must not stop now. In the future there will be many forces trying to destroy this freedom, so band together and dedicate yourselves to protecting that freedom you have so valiantly won on the battlefield."

Another legacy of General Harries's leadership was the publication of the National Bulletin (now Officer Review magazine) as a medium for staying in touch with the chapters and membership. In particular, the Bulletin kept the membership informed on National Defense issues, serving as a strong voice in opposition to peace radicals and communists.

At a ceremony on November 11, 1921, the Nation buried an Unknown Soldier from the Great War. General Harries led a contingent of MOWW Companions to the U.S. Capitol to pay tribute to their fallen comrade-in-arms. A long funeral procession solemnly proceeded from the Capitol to Arlington National Cemetery. Representing the Military Order was a column of eight files of Companions organized by the Washington, D.C. Chapter.

Unique during General Harries's tenure was the inclusion of French military Officers in MOWW. Through the efforts of Brigadier General S. Herbert Wolfe, a chapter had been established in Paris soon after the war. The bonds between the military of both countries were strengthened through visits by senior French officers, many of whom spoke to MOWW chapters. Some were members of the Order-were Marshal Joseph Joffre, General Henri Gourad, General Robert Nivelle, and General Charles Payot, in addition to Marshal Foch. A constitutional amendment in 1942, however, limited membership eligibility to U.S. citizens, thus destroying the French connection. With America involved in another World War, on October 28, 1942, the Order's name was changed, again, to the Military Order of the World Wars (plural).

The MOWW Constitution and Bylaws has been a living document, changing as needed to suit different times. Yet, its underlying principles remain intact. Good moral character and reputation continue to be a prerequisite for being a Companion today, as they were in 1920. The concept of selfless service remains the keystone of the organization. The Order continues to provide an opportunity for Federally recognized Officers of the uniformed services (United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines Corps, Coast Guard (Active, Reserve, and National Guard), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Corps, and the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) Corps) to come together and promote patriotism, good citizenship, youth development, and service to country. Unchanged are those matters prohibited by the Constitution, such as, promotion of sectarian matters or partisan politics and the use of the name or records of the Order for business or political purposes.

The early years were exciting ones with the Chief of Staff of the Army, General Douglas MacArthur, serving as the third Commander-in-Chief from 1926 to 1927. The Order was involved in the installation of a bust to honor one of its most illustrious Companions, Admiral William S. Sims, at the U. S. Naval Academy. His portrait occupies a place of honor at the current National MOWW headquarters along with a portrait of General Pershing. General George C. Marshall was named the Order's Man of the Year for 1943. And, MOWW succeeded in recruiting such patriots as Presidents Herbert Hoover, Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower, along with Arleigh Burke, "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell, and Nathan Twining.

During its first 35 years, the Order's day-to-day business was carried out by a part-time Executive Officer or Chief Administrative Officer. After the 1961 convention, however, MOWW designated its first full-time administrator titled "Chief of Staff." The first Chief of Staff was Major General Joseph H. Harper, U.S. Army, Retired. This position has continued in existence as the Order's senior full-time leader.

The Military Order was founded upon high principles, but, like any new organization, encountered difficulties during its formative years. Two problems were cited during the initial 35 years that remain of concern to this day. The first was, of course, obtaining an adequate number of members to permit the organization to function both locally and as a National organization. The second was maintaining echelons of responsibility to accomplish the Order's objectives without placing undue burden on any individual Companion.

The location of the Order's historical records was, at first, a matter of concern. At one point, the Constitution required that they be maintained by the Adjutant General of the Order at the National Headquarters. Creation of a new position entitled Historian General in 1931 brought about a more workable solution. Major Gist Blair of Washington, D.C. negotiated with the Board of Trustees of Stanford University for the storage of the Order's archives in Hoover Institute's library at the University. Consequently, the Institute has compiled a "Who's Who" of MOWW Companions and it is in computerized
format for information preservation and easy access by researchers. Major Blair is reported to have championed another intriguing idea. He offered his historic family home, the Blair House across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, to the Order as its National Headquarters. Concerned about inordinate maintenance costs that might be imposed on the Order, its leadership politely declined and many Companions have second-guessed that decision ever since. The Order was the recipient of Major Blair's generosity in another way, however, as he established a trust fund to encourage biographies be written of MOWW members and to assist the Order in recording its history.

One activity that distinguishes the Military Order of the World Wars from other Veterans organizations is that MOWW had its origins during the halcyon days of the 1920s. The Society of the Massing of the Colors first held a patriotic ceremony on Armistice Day in 1922. The New York Chapter of MOWW inherited the responsibility for conducting this event in 1927. The pattern was thereby established for the Order to conduct Massing of the Colors across the country, when the original sponsoring organization eventually faded away. On May 26, 1929, in an amphitheater on the grounds of the Washington National Cathedral, 15,000 people came together to honor the Nation's war dead. A procession of the Colors of the Armed Services, Veterans and patriotic organizations, school groups, scouts, and others filed in to sounds of the drum and bugle. The event was so successful that three years later its attendees included Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson, the widows of President William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson, and the Episcopal Bishop of Washington, D.C.

Massings of the Colors have now achieved National acclaim for recognizing the sacrifices of all Americans, military and civilian, in war and peace. The ceremony is repeated annually in communities as diverse as Key West , FL , Detroit , MI , San Diego , CA , Annapolis , MD , Baton Rouge , LA , Melbourne , FL , and many other locations throughout the United States and its territories.

As the Order's supreme authority, the National Convention has periodically been historic, both regarding internal MOWW matters and, on at least on one occasion, concerning National politics, as well. The 1957 convention authorized a unique chapter unrelated to geographic location. It was created as a memorial to Commander Charles Hann, a Companion of the New York Chapter and an unusually dynamic past Commander-in-Chief of the Order. Upon the death in 1965 of another exceptional past Commander-in-Chief, LtColonel Leslie Buswell of the Miami Chapter, the special chapter's name was changed to the Hann-Buswell Memorial Chapter. Its objective is to help formulate policy at the National level and to support the Constitution's Preamble by directing funds to further the Order's goals, underwriting suitable projects beyond the means of the National budget, establishing memorials to Officers of the Armed Forces, and assisting individual chapters recognize their outstanding leaders. The Hann-Buswell Chapter is open to any Officer who qualifies for membership in the Order.

Delegates will long remember the 1963 National Convention in San Antonio. Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona was the recipient of the Order's first Distinguished Service Award for extraordinary accomplishment for a strong National defense. The Senator used the opportunity to announce his candidacy for President of the United States. As recalled by CDR Hans von Leden, then the CINC, "For the first time, the MOWW was featured on every radio and television station in America that night."

The Order has amassed an impressive list of Distinguished Service Award recipients since Senator Goldwater. This selective club includes members of Congress and the Executive Branch, headed by then-President Richard M. Nixon, as well as many of our Nation's most decorated military leaders. Secretaries of Defense James Schlesinger, Melvin Laird, Caspar Weinberger, and Frank Carlucci have all been recognized. Outstanding legislators include Senators Barry Goldwater, Strom Thurman, John Stennis, Robert Dole, John McCain, and Jeff Sessions and Congressmen F. Howard Hebert, Ike Skelton, and Floyd Spence. In addition, Chairmen of the Joint Staff (JCS) Admiral Thomas H. Moore, and Generals George S. Brown, John W. Vessey, Jr, John M. Shalikashivili, Henry H. Shelton, and Richard B. Myers. Other Generals include Lewis B Hershey, William Westmoreland, Lyman L. Lemnitzer, Harold K. Johnson, Ira C. Eaker, Alexander M. Haig, Lewis W. Walt, Frederick J. Kroesen, Bernard W. Rogers, James H. Doolittle, Vernon A. Walters, Gordon R. Sullivan, George A. Joulwan, Dennis J. Reimer, and P. X. Kelley have also been honored, as have Admirals James E. Van Zandt and U.S. Grant Sharp. A member of the clergy has even been cited, His Eminence Cardinal Francis Spellman. The most recent recipient at the 2006 National Convention was Chairmen of the Joint Staff (JCS) General Richard B. Myers.

The Order has also taken time at National Conventions to recognize excellence within its own ranks. Annual awards sponsored by local chapters highlight special achievement in promoting the Order's National Security objectives, supporting ROTC, promoting law and order, and conducting effective public relations. In addition, the 1995 national convention authorized an annual award for the best thesis on a National Security topic by a graduate as determined by its faculty of the Joint Military Intelligence College located at Bolling AF Base, DC.

One of the Order's greatest challenges over the years has been promoting patriotism, good citizenship, and individual responsibility. A significant step forward was taken in 1962, when MOWW published The Guidance Handbook for Patriotic Education. This guide outlined six initiatives that chapters could take to further patriotic education in their communities. Another important milestone was establishment in 1973 of the Patriotic Education Foundation., Inc., to make materials on American history and good citizenship available for public schools and to sponsor speakers and award scholarships for similar purposes.

Sponsoring Youth Leadership Conferences (YLCs) and supporting the Boy and Girl Scouts at the chapter level enable MOWW to recognize outstanding young men and women and inculcate the values and ideals that have made America great. Increased emphasis on expanding the number of MOWW youth leadership activities and their enrollment has expanded the Order's outreach from the hundreds in 1965 to over 13,000 in 1999 in both one-day and multi-day conferences.  In 2007 MOWW achieved 28 multi-day conferences for approximately 1700 students and 60 single-day conferences for approximately 7500 students. In addition, in the 1990s, the Order moved further ahead by distributing Project High School Prep!- a complete curriculum to prepare ninth grade students for success in high school and beyond. The Order has also published a manual of instruction for chapter Senior and Junior ROTC chairmen to follow in working with colleges and high schools.

All of these accomplishments have been recorded in a series of histories written about the Order. Vice Admiral George C. Dyer's classic addressed The First 50 Years. The Decade of the 70s and The Decade of the 80s by LT Karl B. Justus nicely complemented VADM Dyer's work. A fourth history, The Final Decade of the Century (90s) is now being completed by the Order.

More than eight decades since its creation, the Military Order of the World Wars has been steadfast in adhering to those precepts that distinguish it from other organizations. The challenge for Companions, as today's keepers of the faith, is to remain true to these ideals, carrying forth the vision articulated by the Order's founding fathers.

                                     Take Time to Serve Your Country.
                              It is nobler to serve, than to be served.